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Speech given by Defence Minister Willie O’Dea on the Departure of the L.E. Eithne for Argentina

Naval Base, Haulbowline:

Monday 6th February 2006


Ambassador Huergo, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen. I am truly delighted to be here today to see our Naval Flagship, the LE Eithne, under command of one Mayoman Commander Mark Mellett, leave for Argentina to honour another Mayoman: Admiral William Brown.

As many of you here today, especially the representatives from the Admiral Brown society, will know William Brown holds a honoured place in Argentina’s history, so it is entirely appropriate that the young men and women of our Navy travel there to help commemorate this great Irishman.

This mission is historic for many reasons. Not only are we honouring this great Irishman but also this will be the longest visit ever undertaken by the Naval Service.

I am delighted to know that in addition to the usual diplomatic and ceremonial functions, there are so many other aspects to the LE Eithne’s visit. In the course of this mission, our servicemen and women will support the work of our health services by facilitating information exchanges as well as hosting visits by sick children from paediatric hospitals in all of the ports they visit.

On foot of the initiative by the Diocese of Dublin to allocate some of the gifts collected after Christmas to children in hospitals in South America, the LE Eithne has been inundated with contributions from all over the country, including Foxford, Carlow, Cork to mention just a few.

The LE Eithne’s visit will also provide support to some NGOs – focusing on projects involving young people who are homeless: hosting them onboard and in some cases developing their skills as electricians, carpenters, plumbers, etc.

The LE Eithne will also carry personal messages from the citizens of Derry to the members of the Special Olympics Team who stayed in Derry recently.

In the course of the next few weeks the LE Eithne will proudly fly the Irish Flag in five of the largest ports in South America. This will remind our South American friends of the many links and friendships that exist between our peoples and will gladden the hearts of the many Irishmen and women who make up the Irish Diaspora in South America.

In conclusion, I would like to wish Commander Mark Mellett and his crew an enjoyable and fruitful voyage. I hope that you will all return safely to your loved ones who, I know, will be counting the days until your return.


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Speech by Mr Willie O’Dea T.D., Minister for Defence at the commissioning cermony for the 45th Naval Service Cadet Class
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Speech by Mr Willie O’Dea T.D., Minister for Defence at the official opening of the refurbished "Block 6" Naval Base Haulbowline
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Speech given by Defence Minister Willie O’Dea on the Departure of the L.E. Eithne for Argentina, 06/02/06
1 July 2002
Cadet commissioning ceremony - 77th Class

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